Sunday night music in the air

March 13, 2011

King’s X is one of those rare things: an art-rock hard-rock band. (I am not distracted by the “artsy” prog-rock bands of the 1970s; I mean real art-rock.) They have been around now for almost twenty-five years, doing yeoman’s labour on the shady side of the spotlight, with a rather small but loyal following. There are just three people in the band, but each is an artist — not to mention a virtuoso — and they make beautiful sounds together.

Their first record was 1988’s Out of the Silent Planet, and for the next few albums they went from strength to strength.  In my opinion their strongest record was 1992’s faith hope love, which, with its thoughtful lyrics, gorgeous guitar work, textured percussion, and close, three-part harmonies, is some kind of miracle. Their music became more aggressive and, to my ears, less focused on subsequent records, and I confess that I haven’t kept track of them very closely for the past six or eight years. I wonder what I’m missing?

My favourite King’s X song is “Over My Head”, from their sophomore record Gretchen Goes to Nebraska. If only all rock ‘n’ roll were this joyous!

A live action video is here, but unfortunately it is not embeddable.

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4 Responses to “Sunday night music in the air”

  1. Wes Says:

    “The ‘artsy’ prog-rock bands of the 1970s…”

    Spoken with such contempt! Surely this is not a slight against King Crimson, in my opinion one of the bravest and most original rock bands?

  2. Mac Says:

    I have one King’s X album, Please Come Home Mr. Bulbous, which I got when eMusic was practically free and have only listened to once or twice. My reaction was not more than lukewarm. I think it belongs to that later period you mention.

    I didn’t think much of ’70s prog-rock at the time, but changed my mind years later. Agree that KC is probably the best of them.

  3. cburrell Says:

    Yes, Mac, that was well into the later phase, and right about the time I started to lose touch with them. If you haven’t heard Gretchen or faith hope love, I recommend trying them. They don’t seem to be on eMusic anymore though.

    Thanks for your brotherly correction, Wes. I must confess that, to my knowledge, I’ve never heard a single note of King Crimson. With which album should I start?

  4. Mac Says:

    I see both those albums on eMusic–maybe they aren’t available to you in Canada. I’ll add them to the 120+ items in my Saved For Later list.

    I’m not real familiar with all of King Crimson’s work, but their first, In the Court of the Crimson King, would certainly do, if you can bear the hideous cover art. Their first three or four albums are the prog-rock-iest, as most people probably think of that genre, and are more melodic and lyrical than their later work. Discography here. Beginning with Lark’s Tongues In Aspic, they went in a sort of intricate heavy mostly instrumental vein.


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